Mind Cloud clarifies picture in qualitative research of creative

William Landell Mills and Ged Parton

The use of qualitative research for creative evaluation was developed by the great planning agencies, BMP and JWT, in the 1960s. Naturally enough, their interest was to use research to best understand reactions to their advertising ideas. To do this, they wanted a 'clear read' on the ads, uncontaminated by any prior chitchat about the brand. Brand effect was something they paid lip-service to, but was never their primary focus. To them, ad research really was 'all about the ad'.

Fifty years on, the standard way of researching creative is still theirs. Let's call it 'ad first': warm up, show creative, ask things about it (including how it fits with the brand), close.

Our contention is that this approach is flawed because it is too much about the creative and not enough about how the creative will affect the associations around the brand, or what we term the Brand Mind Cloud.